Top Ten Tuesday: Books I loved with <2000 Goodreads ratings

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

(links are to Goodreads)

 

The Lost Garden by Li Ang (26 ratings)

This book by Taiwanese author Li Ang was originally published in 1991 and this edition, translated from the Chinese, was published in 2015. My thoughts here

The Perfect Egg by Aldo Buzzi (63 ratings)

I read this in 2007 and rated it 4 stars. It’s a short read with various essays on food.

Flight by Oona Frawley (77 ratings)

I wrote in my review: Flight takes time to get into. But when you do get into it, it is a gem. It is a story about feeling lost, both within the world and within themselves. It is unsettling, it is emotional. It is a thoughtful story that makes you examine your own life, your own situation, and where you belong

Read the rest of my thoughts here

Naming Monsters by Hannah Eaton (81 ratings)

A really interesting graphic novel about a teenager dealing with the death of her mother

The Old Garden by Hwang Sok-yong (124 ratings)

I wrote in my review: “The Old Garden is essentially a just-out-of-prison story. A political prisoner,  Oh Hyun Woo, is released after twenty years and he discovers how much life has changed on the outside. It’s not about learning about new technology that kind of thing. But a reflection on how South Korea has changed over the years. Hyun Woo also discovers that the woman he loved is dead, but he finds her letters and paintings and learns about her life in the past twenty years.”

Read the rest of my review here

The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen – Atossa Araxia Abrahamian (134 ratings)

A great quick (162 pages) nonfiction read about citizenship and globalization. A rare nonfiction read which felt like it could have been longer.

The Fourth Star: Dispatches from Inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated New York Restaurant by Leslie Brenner (139 ratings)

A great read for anyone interested in the restaurant scene. Read my review here

 

 

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Favourite Couples in Books #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Favorite Couples In Books

 

 

Is it weird that the first couple that came to mind was Gerald and Piggie from the Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series? I love how they’re such great friends! I know that’s probably not what this topic is asking, especially since we’re two days from Valentine’s Day, but they’re a great couple anyway!

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe of Anne of Green Gables

I always liked how they started off as competitors.

Michelle and Barack Obama

Well since the topic didn’t specify whether the couples are fictional or not, I’m going with the Obamas. I recently finished listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming and just really enjoyed how candid she was about her relationship and marriage.

 

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

Upcoming releases I’m on the fence about #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 

 

Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About 

An interesting topic this one! Usually I only add books to my Goodreads TBR list that I’m quite certain I want to read

 

Ginger Bread – Helen Oyeyemi

For me this is an Ooh a new Oyeyemi book!” but also, a bit hesitant because her books can be difficult to read. But this synopsis sounds fun!

Influenced by the mysterious place gingerbread holds in classic children’s stories–equal parts wholesome and uncanny, from the tantalizing witch’s house in “Hansel and Gretel” to the man-shaped confection who one day decides to run as fast as he can–beloved novelist Helen Oyeyemi invites readers into a delightful tale of a surprising family legacy, in which the inheritance is a recipe.

Perdita Lee may appear to be your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. For one thing, they share a gold-painted, seventh-floor walk-up apartment with some surprisingly verbal vegetation. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druh�strana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth. In fact, the world’s truest lover of the Lee family gingerbread is Harriet’s charismatic childhood friend, Gretel Kercheval–a figure who seems to have had a hand in everything (good or bad) that has happened to Harriet since they met.

Decades later, when teenaged Perdita sets out to find her mother’s long-lost friend, it prompts a new telling of Harriet’s story. As the book follows the Lees through encounters with jealousy, ambition, family grudges, work, wealth, and real estate, gingerbread seems to be the one thing that reliably holds a constant value. Endlessly surprising and satisfying, written with Helen Oyeyemi’s inimitable style and imagination, it is a true feast for the reader

Omega Canyon – Dan Simmons (March 2019)

I’ve enjoyed some of Simmons books, like The Terror and Hyperion but books set during wartime aren’t exactly books I immediately am drawn to. So we will see

Paul and Erik Haber are Vienna-born brothers who fled Nazi-controlled Europe as Hitler tightened his grip. The first, a physicist who had to leave behind his Jewish wife and child as he escaped, is designing the atomic bomb at Los Alamos; the second is a commando in Britain’s legendary Special Operations Executive working on the top-secret ALSOS Mission to seek out Nazi atomic scientists across Europe.

When Paul is blackmailed by a German agent who wants him to betray America, he sees a slim, dangerous chance for Erik to rescue his wife and son.

Now, as one brother tries to end the war, the other must risk everything to save his brother’s family.

With action ranging from Los Alamos labs to the battlefields of Europe and ruined cities of Germany, Omega Canyon is a story of daring action, brotherly love and the fight for freedom.

Agency – William Gibson (April 2019)

William Gibson! I associate his books with my communications classes in university and haven’t read his works since those many years ago. So I don’t know about this one. Apparently he wrote something five years ago! I didn’t know that either.

In William Gibson’s first novel since 2014’s New York Times bestselling The Peripheral, a gifted “app-whisperer” is hired by a mysterious San Francisco start-up and finds herself in contact with a unique and surprisingly combat-savvy AI.

Bangkok Wakes to Rain – Pitchaya Sudbanthad

On the fence because he’s a new author, that’s all

A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-WWII society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the resident spirits. A young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in New Krungthep, savvy teenagers row tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these stories collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making and remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

10 additions to my #TBR list

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

 

 

 

So I’ve decided to go via my Goodreads list skipping over some that I had mentioned last week.

The Arsonist – Chloe Hooper

My library doesn’t have much of an Australian authors collection so I may have to see if I can put in a purchase request for this – although it looks like it’s only published in Australia at the moment.

On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno. In the Valley, where the rates of crime were the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know.

The Arsonist takes readers on the hunt for this man, and inside the strange puzzle of his mind. It is also the story of fire in this country, and of a community that owed its existence to that very element. The command of fire has defined and sustained us as a species – understanding its abuse will define our future.

A powerful real-life thriller written with Hooper’s trademark lyric detail and nuance, The Arsonist is a reminder that in an age of fire, all of us are gatekeepers.

Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves, and the Will to Swim – Alexandra Heminsley

I like swimming so books about swimming always are a plus! This one was via The Captive Reader.

 

Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did.

It may have been because she could run. It may have been because she wanted to swim; or perhaps because she only ever did ten minutes of breaststroke at a time. But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t.

Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced the most fully, she decided to conquer her fear of the water.

From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming from Kefalonia to Ithaca, in becoming a swimmer, Alexandra learns to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.

 

The Games House – Claire North

The cover of this book hasn’t been revealed yet so this is the German edition

Everyone has heard of the Gameshouse. But few know all its secrets…

It is the place where fortunes can be made and lost through chess, backgammon – every game under the sun.
But those whom fortune favors may be invited to compete in the higher league… a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings. It is a league where Capture the Castle involves real castles, where hide and seek takes place on the scale of a continent.

Among those worthy of competing in the higher league, three unusually talented contestants play for the highest stakes of all…

Tailor-Made – Yolanda Wallace

Before Grace Henderson began working as a tailor in her father’s bespoke suit shop in Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn, she established a hard and fast rule about not dating clients. The edict is an easy one for her to follow, considering the overwhelming majority of the shop’s clients are men. But when Dakota Lane contacts her to commission a suit to wear to her sister’s wedding, Grace finds herself tempted to throw all the rules out the window.

Dakota Lane works as a bicycle messenger by day and moonlights as a male model. Her high-profile career, gender-bending looks, and hard-partying ways garner her plenty of romantic attention, but she would rather play the field than settle down. When she meets sexy tailor Grace Henderson, however, she suddenly finds herself in the market for much more than a custom suit

What Language Do I Dream In? – Elena Lappin

My life could be described as ‘five languages in search of an author’. I was born into Russian; transposed into Czech, then German; introduced to Hebrew; and finally adopted by English.’ Elena Lappin was born in Russia. Her parents speak Russian to one another, and to their children. Elena speaks Czech to her brother, but he writes in German and she writes in English. What does it mean to be brought up in family that speaks several different languages, and where all members are writers? Elena Lappin explores what it is to be a writer, what language is, and it’s also a wonderful look at the life of a woman who has moved from country to country looking for a language to think in.

 

Unexploded – Alison MacLeod

I used to live in Brighton so I’m always attracted to books set there

May, 1940. On Park Crescent, Geoffrey and Evelyn Beaumont and their eight-year-old son, Philip, anxiously await news of the expected enemy landing on the beaches of Brighton.

It is a year of tension and change. Geoffrey becomes Superintendent of the enemy alien camp at the far reaches of town, while Philip is gripped by the rumour that Hitler will make Brighton’s Royal Pavilion his English HQ. As the rumours continue to fly and the days tick on, Evelyn struggles to fall in with the war effort and the constraints of her role in life, and her thoughts become tinged with a mounting, indefinable desperation.

Then she meets Otto Gottlieb, a ‘degenerate’ German-Jewish painter and prisoner in her husband’s internment camp. As Europe crumbles, Evelyn’s and Otto’s mutual distrust slowly begins to change into something else, which will shatter the structures on which her life, her family and her community rest.Love collides with fear, the power of art with the forces of war, and the lives of Evelyn, Otto and Geoffrey are changed irrevocably

A Duke by Default – Alyssa Cole

I really liked Cole’s A Princess in Theory, the first book in the Reluctant Royals series! This is the second book.

Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

I quite like the cover of this one

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages–and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money–more than you’ve ever dreamed of–to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your überwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery–or worse.

Heartbreaking, suspenseful, provocative, The Farm pushes our thinking on motherhood, money, and merit to the extremes, and raises crucial questions about the trade-offs women will make to fortify their futures and the futures of those they love.

The Far Field – Madhuri Vijay

I can’t remember where I got this recommendation from. Possibly a booklist?

Gorgeously tactile and sweeping in historical and socio-political scope, Pushcart Prize-winner Madhuri Vijay’s The Far Field follows a complicated flaneuse across the Indian subcontinent as she reckons with her past, her desires, and the tumultuous present.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him. But upon her arrival, Shalini is brought face to face with Kashmir’s politics, as well as the tangled history of the local family that takes her in. And when life in the village turns volatile and old hatreds threaten to erupt into violence, Shalini finds herself forced to make a series of choices that could hold dangerous repercussions for the very people she has come to love.

 

Dust – Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

From a breathtaking new voice, a novel about a splintered family in Kenya—a story of power and deceit, unrequited love, survival and sacrifice.

Odidi Oganda, running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His grief-stricken sister, Ajany, just returned from Brazil, and their father bring his body back to their crumbling home in the Kenyan drylands, seeking some comfort and peace. But the murder has stirred memories long left untouched and unleashed a series of unexpected events: Odidi and Ajany’s mercurial mother flees in a fit of rage; a young Englishman arrives at the Ogandas’ house, seeking his missing father; a hardened policeman who has borne witness to unspeakable acts reopens a cold case; and an all-seeing Trader with a murky identity plots an overdue revenge. In scenes stretching from the violent upheaval of contemporary Kenya back through a shocking political assassination in 1969 and the Mau Mau uprisings against British colonial rule in the 1950s, we come to learn the secrets held by this parched landscape, buried deep within the shared past of the family and of a conflicted nation.

Here is a spellbinding novel about a brother and sister who have lost their way; about how myths come to pass, history is written, and war stains us forever.

Have you read any of these books?


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

 

#TopTenTuesday: Books I meant to read in 2018

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To

 

Oh boy, this could turn out to be a really long post. I mean, just deciding which books that were published last year alone could turn out to be a long one. Not to mention all those books that are lolling about on my bookshelves, probably betting amongst themselves how long it will be before they each get picked up. (“I’ve been waiting here for months”, says one gleefully. “Months?” another scoffs, “try years”.)

Circe – Madeline Miller
Her first book Achilles was a great read!
From the synopsis:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child—not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power—the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

 

My Sister the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
Because who can resist that title and that cover?

From the synopsis:
Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

Red Clocks – Leni Zumas
From the synopsis:
In this ferociously imaginative novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom.

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month – NK Jemisin
Love her books! Can’t wait to read her stories.

In these stories, Jemisin sharply examines modern society, infusing magic into the mundane, and drawing deft parallels in the fantasy realms of her imagination. Dragons and hateful spirits haunt the flooded city of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In a parallel universe, a utopian society watches our world, trying to learn from our mistakes. A black mother in the Jim Crow south must figure out how to save her daughter from a fey offering impossible promises. And in the Hugo award-nominated short story “The City Born Great,” a young street kid fights to give birth to an old metropolis’s soul.

Tell The Machine Goodnight – Katie Williams
Sounds interesting and quirky
From the synopsis:
Pearl’s job is to make people happy. Every day, she provides customers with personalized recommendations for greater contentment. She’s good at her job, her office manager tells her, successful. But how does one measure an emotion?

Wild Milk – Sabrina Orah Mark
Love the cover!
From the synopsis:
Wild Milk is like Borscht Belt meets Leonora Carrington; it’s like Donald Barthelme meets Pony Head; it’s like the Brothers Grimm meet Beckett in his swim trunks at the beach. In other words, this remarkable collection of stories is unlike anything else you’ve read.

 

Happiness – Aminatta Forna
I really enjoyed Forna’s The Memory of Love
From the synopsis:
London. A fox makes its way across Waterloo Bridge. The distraction causes two pedestrians to collide–Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes, and Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist there to deliver a keynote speech. From this chance encounter, Aminatta Forna’s unerring powers of observation show how in the midst of the rush of a great city lie numerous moments of connection.

Call Me Zebra – Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi
I’m intrigued by the title

From the synopsis:
Zebra is the last in a line of anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts. When war came, her family didn’t fight; they took refuge in books. Now alone and in exile, Zebra leaves New York for Barcelona, retracing the journey she and her father made from Iran to the United States years ago

The Golden State – Lydia Kiesling
I’m always drawn to books set in CA
From the synopsis:
Keenly observed, bristling with humor, and set against the beauty of a little-known part of California, The Golden State is about class and cultural breakdowns, and desperate attempts to bridge old and new worlds. But more than anything, it is about motherhood: its voracious worry, frequent tedium, and enthralling, wondrous love.

The Parking Lot Attendant – Nafkote Tamirat
From the synopsis:
A mesmerizing, indelible coming-of-age story about a girl in Boston’s tightly-knit Ethiopian community who falls under the spell of a charismatic hustler out to change the world

Have you read any of these books? Which would you recommend?


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

 

 

 

Back to the Classics 2018

I am horrible when it comes to finishing challenges. I am really good at starting them and I am truly awesome at coming up with reading lists 😀. But finishing them? Not really.

Every year-end I wonder if I should join challenges in the new year but the truth is, I cannot resist them! So here I am again, joining the Back to the Classics challenge hosted by Books and Chocolate.

This year, I’ve decided to try as much as possible to read books by women authors.

1. A 19th century classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

Adam Bede – George Eliot (1859)

2. A 20th century classicany book published between 1900 and 1968. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.

Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles (1943)

3. A classic by a woman author.

The Heat of the Day by Elizabeth Bowen (1948)

4. A classic in translation.

The Innocent Libertine by Colette (1909)

5. A children’s classic.

The Enchanted Castle by E Nesbit (1907)

An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott (1869-1870)

6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction.

Murder Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay (1935)

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green (1878)

7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction

A Voyage in the Sunbeam by Anna Brassey (1878)

8. A classic with a single-word title.

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1907)

Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (1849)

9. A classic with a color in the title.

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (1847)

The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer (1921)

10. A classic by an author that’s new to you.

The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton (1958)

11. A classic that scares you.
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon (990s to 1000s)

12. Re-read a favorite classic

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (1908)

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

toptentues

Top Three Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books (Does a character eat something you’d love? Or maybe the book takes place in a bakery/restaurant that makes yummy things? You could also talk about 10 of your favorite cookbooks if you don’t read foody books.)

Sugarbread- Balli Kaur Jaswal

Chilli crab. Tofu with peanut sauce. Chinese vegetables with plump stalks and juicy leaves. Hainanese chicken rice with sweet soy sauce and ginger chilli. Noodles – both thick and thin – with fish cake and pork balls. Red-hot South Indian curries served with sticky bread and milk tea. Durians, longans, rambutans for dessert. Chendol. Ice kachang.

Delicious! – Ruth Reichl

She had fed me a fluffy cloud, no more than pure texture, but as it evaporated it left a trail of flavour in its wake.

“Lemon peel,” I said, “Parmesan, saffron, spinach.” She held out another spoonful, and this time, at the very end, I tasted just a touch of something lemony but neither lemon nor verbena. It had a faint cinnamon tinge. “Curry leaf!”

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

“What a marvellous smell!’ answered Grandpa Joe, taking a long deep sniff. All the most wonderful smells in the world seemed to be mixed up in the air around them — the smell of roasting coffee and burnt sugar and melting chocolate and mint and violets and crushed hazelnuts and apple blossom and caramel and lemon peel.”